Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cover Tuesday: Get The Led Out Johnny and Kurt!

By Justin Cates

Clearly the world came off it's hinges a bit last week, so I temporarily shelved this edition of cover Tuesday.

Now that things have settled down for a minute, it seems like a fine time to resume our pseudo-weekly ritual.

First up is quite possibly the best Led Zeppelin cover you'll see anywhere on the Internet.

This comes to us from the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors tribute to the honored Zeppelin.

It features original Zepp drummer John Bonham's son Jason behind the kit and Ann (vocals) and Nancy Wilson (guitar) of the band Heart out front.

Contrary to popular belief, you can in fact cover a song as challenging and transcendent as ,"Stairway To Heaven", just don't ever attempt it in a music store because you will be judged and promptly chastised.

"No Stairway? Denied!"

It's a beautiful rendition, fully fleshed out with a handful of backing musicians and multiple choirs.

The kicker is when you see how much John Paul Jones, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page love the version.

Robert Plant cries! I can't really fathom a moment watching someone play such a wonderful thing and think, "Wow, we wrote that".

It's a moving song to begin with, and the band's reaction adds to the emotions of the moment.

Next on the docket is the late Johnny Cash's cover of Bob Marley's classic, "Redemption Song".

Joe Strummer joins him and as all the covers on Cash's American albums, this one is tinged with a melancholy that can only come from a voice as weathered as JC's

You can hear the weight of his life's experience in every word he sings. It's like the world is sitting on his shoulders and he's just tired of it all.

It's one of Marley's most lyrically poignant songs, focusing on the troubles of humanity but it's also an expression on the great physical pain he was experiencing as he battled the cancer that ultimately took his life.

The connection between the two men performing this song at the end of their lives is obvious. My only complaint is I wish Johnny's was solo just like the original.  

It would appear at this point that I've gone from the musical triumph of the first song to an increasingly dark playlist culminating with Kurt Cobain's piercing wail. My bad.

Cobain was trendy without trying to be, the "Anti-Bieber" in other words. 

I couldn't remember what the third song I had in mind last week was, so I organically stumbled onto Nirvana's cover of the Meat Puppets', "Lake of Fire".

The cut comes from Nirvana's 1994 release MTV Unplugged in New York—remember when MTV was a thing that mattered? I mean really mattered because things like Unplugged were cultural events not just, "OMGZ MTV TRL Bieber takeover in 10 min!!! #Belieber #SoHawt".

That felt dirty just jokingly typing it. Anyway, this Nirvana cover is terrific and one of my favorite moments from that Unplugged session.

Editor's Note: Without trying to, I found pictures of both Johnny Cash and Kurt Cobain holding kittens.   For whatever reason, the Internet goes bonkers for that kind of stuff so I'm presenting them here to show an added dimension to these emotional complex individuals. Plus, it's kind of funny.


Creepy but cute. Seems about right Kurt.

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